Termites, if left uncontrolled will damage property worth thousands of dollars around the home. All across America, termites destroy property worth billions of dollars every year.
For this reason, many home builders have taken up the culture of termite proofing as the home is being constructed.
What Is Termite Proofing?
Termite proofing is the treatment given to a building, to control or prevent the termite growth in the building’s wooden structures.
Termites can make their way into your home using cracks the walls, floor joints, and pipes. Once they are inside, you can only imagine the amount of damage they will cause.
Controlling the Termites, as opposed to getting rid of them is much easier. Cellulose is a termite’s favorite meal, and a lot of it can be found in wood, and this is why the termites are so attracted to it.
They can also damage other organic materials that contain cellulose. These include household furniture, clothing, and books.
Termites can also damage other non-cellulose materials in their search for food. These include rubber, plastic, and leather.
The damage caused by termites to expensive building structures has led contractors to take more preventive measures to keep the termites away from their buildings.
Based on their habitat, termites are split into two types. These are subterranean or ground-nesting termites, and non-subterranean or wood nesting termites (these have no contact with the soil).
Subterranean termites are very destructive and are majorly responsible for nearly all wooden damage caused in buildings.
Usually, they build their nests underground, in a dead tree stump or other forms of decaying timber. Some termite species can construct a conical or dome-shaped mound, similar to an Anthill.
Termite colonies may last for several years, during which time they would have multiplied to millions. At this time, controlling them would have become ten times more difficult.
Prevention as they say is much better than looking for a cure afterward. That being said, you can prevent a termite infestation by doing the following.
- Use Superior Quality Materials
When building a house, the materials used, especially wooden materials, should be of the highest quality. They should also be pre-treated before they are used for construction.
The door frames, the doors itself, and other wooden posts must be pre-treated before they are used in constructing the house.
There are many wood pre-treatment options available for contactors to explore. And these will keep the termites from attacking the wood.
- Clear The Building Site Before Building
A big mistake many contractors have made in the past is carrying out a building project when the site has not been properly cleared.
Building right beside or on the top un-cleared ground is an open invitation for termites to invade your new home.
Old wood stumps and dead or decayed wood is a perfect nesting place for some species of termites, and if those are left on the site while building construction is going on, then the termite colonies will eventually expand into the building when it is completed and cause heartbreaking damage to the wooden structures.
Methods of Termite Treatments
You can split termite treatment into two groups. These are –
- Treatment before construction
- Treatment after construction
Treatment Before Construction
Pre-construction treatment requires a few things. These include –
- Preparing The Site
Before you begin construction, the site needs to be thoroughly cleaned to remove all possible termite nesting areas and materials.
Such materials include debris, rotting tree stumps, and dead roots.
- Treating Excavated Foundation Trenches
Apply an insecticide solution to the base and sides of all excavated trenches of up to 300mm in height.
Doing this will ensure the termite nests buried deep into the soil will be attacked and the termites will be exterminated.
- Treating Black-fill Soil
Using aldrin, you can treat the back-fill used in filling up the excavated trenches. Do this after the masonry walls have been constructed.
Apply the insecticide along the vertical surface of the foundation masonry. In a case where the foundation is constructed with R.C.C, you should begin the treatment at a depth of 0.5m below ground level.
- Treatment The Filling At Plinth Level
Before you proceed to lay the sub-grade for the ground floor, you should sprinkle the top surface often consolidated Earth filling with a .5% Aldrin/Heptachlor combination.
- Treating The Soil Along The External Periphery
Inject a solution of .5%Aldrin/Heptachlor at 2.25 liters per meter, by a 12mm diameter of holes that are 300mm deep. Do this at a distance of 150mm c/c.
In a case where there is an apron along the outer walls, apply the chemical solution on the consolidated Earth beneath the apron at 5 liters/m2.
Treatment After Construction
To treat the building for termite infestation/prevention, then you need to do a few things after construction.
These include the following –
- Treating The Foundation Soil
To treat the foundation soil, you will be required to dig a trench of a depth of about .5m. Fill up the holes with an Aldrin/.5% Heptachlor solution. Apply at the rate of 7.5 liters/m2 along the vertical surface of the wall.
- Soil Treatment Under Floor
You also need to treat every joint and crack found along the floor and beneath it. Apply a chemical solution into the cracks and seal off tightly.
You can also drill extra holes into the floors and apply the chemical solution. Seal off the holes after the chemicals have been applied.
- Treatment Of Voids In Masonry
To do this, you will need to drill holes of a depth of about 12mm and fill them with the chemical solution.
Types And Properties Of Termite Proofing Material
There are many variations of termite control products, and while they all have their differences, Fipronil remains the active ingredient in most liquid termite control products.
Biochemists developed Fipronil to attack the central nervous system of termites once they are exposed to the chemical.
When fipronil is administered in high concentrations, it will kill the termites on contact.
Termite Treatment For Wood
When you notice a termite wood infestation, there are many options you can choose to remove them and prevent more damage, as well as the spread of the colony.
Removing the infested wood is a great way to start, but that doesn’t mean the end of the colony, whose members will still invade other existing wooden structures and damage them. They will also invade any wood you use to replace the damaged ones.
After removing all the infested wood, you should consider proper wood treatment as a more permanent solution to termite infestation.
Direct wood treatment is when infested or potentially infested wood is treated using several types of chemicals and processes.
Direct Wood Treatment is termite management, by treating the wood directly with a product designed to repel or kill termites.
Direct Wood Treatment is a viable treatment option for both subterranean termites and drywood termites.
If you’re dealing with subterranean termites, then expect a large, well-spread colony (or colonies). In many cases, subterranean termite colonies invade several parts of the house and its surrounding soil areas.
All infested wood can be treated and protected from further termite attacks by applying direct wood treatment to the wood.
Doing this will not only kill any existing termites on the wood but will also prevent their friends from returning.
Using direct wood treatment for subterranean termites is a good option, even though the application is limited.
Using direct wood treatment for dry wood termite-infested wood could produce better results, being that dry wood colonies are significantly smaller and a lot more compact than subterranean termites.
Carrying out proper inspections will help you identify all infested wood in the building structure. You should never inspect the structures alone, it is best to get a professional carry out the inspections for proper identification.
After an inspection has been carried out, you can begin to treat the wood to control the dry wood termite infestation. The treatment would also protect your wooden structures from further termite infestation in the future.
When you employ direct wood treatment technology, it would require the drilling of holes in the wood. These holes will serve as the entry points for the termite control product to get deep into the wood and kill the termites right where they are located.
If there is adequate pressure in the application of the termite control product, then it will flow better through the channels which the termites have created. It will also flow better through the natural crevices in the wood.
The termite control product can also be applied on the surface, although strictly surface application will mean no deep penetration.
Termites are very destructive insect pests that can cause damages worth thousands of dollars in your home. Termite proofing is the best way to control them and prevent the spread of their colonies.
Be sure to treat before and after building construction to terminate existing termite colonies and prevent new ones from springing up.